Comparing Credentialing Requirements of Substance Abuse Treatment Staff by Funding Source

Studies have found that clinicians with higher education and/or attainment of national certification have a more favorable outlook regarding the adoption of evidence-based practices. However, staff hiring decisions may be based on a multitude of factors, including available resources and demands stemming from different funders. Using a mixed-methods case study approach with 34 agencies within one state, we assessed administrators’ perspectives of the most important funding source, views on clinical hiring practices, and current staffing. We found that funding source predicted views and actual staff level of credentialing and education. Those agencies citing a criminal justice entity as the most important funder had the lowest requirements for credentialing and education. As the substance abuse treatment delivery system evolves and expands, we must ensure that vulnerable groups have access to more highly—rather than less—skilled workers to assess and facilitate recovery.

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United States